Friday, July 03, 2015

Sharpening Bench

Ralph of The Accidental Woodworker blog is building a sharpening bench. I have to say his looks a heck of a lot better than mine. It should, mine is on a work bench that has been around for almost 50 years and has been repurposed many times. But whatever in its current form it works very well.

Because as far as sharpening goes I have round heels. I find there is no "right" way, some needs and tools demand water stones or diamond, others oil stones or ceramic stones. In addition with all things being equal, they never are, I prefer natural stones to man made. 

Going from left to right is a Shapton water pond with glass stone holder, expensive but works very well to both hold the stone and contain the mess. In the middle is some storage and the strop. The strop and the shop made stone holder are held in place by mounted battens (screwed to the bench top). The right end is for my oil, diamond and ceramic stones. All use the shop made stone holder and the battens are placed so the stone holder can be used either vertical or horizontal.

Hanging from the bench on the left is a angle setting jig. the front is used to hang some of the most used strops as is the right end. Above, that you can't see, is a wall cabinet that the paper towel rack is attached to and is used to store misc. sharpening gear.

The bench sits about a meter off the left (working) end of the main work bench. I've been down many sharpening roads, this has been the best so far. If I were to make any changes to the bench it will be to swap ends, put the oil stone area on the left and the water on the right because about 80% of my sharpening is on the oil stones and the left end is nearer to the main work bench.


  1. You have a lot of stuff on such a small piece of real estate. I'm still up in the air about leaving my stones out and kind of permanently set it place. I think I'll let it evolve as I use it.

  2. Ralph,

    You noticed :-). Sometimes I shake my head at the amount of "stuff", of course on this bench I haven't room for the grinder, Tormek, and saw vise which are in the "tool" room.

    Because I flatten the waterstones each time I don't worry about leaving 'em out and crud or dust getting on them. The oil stones I keep in their boxes, the diamond stones are only used for rough work so it doesn't matter if they are left out. The ceramic I will usually wash before each use because they are used dry.

    With my work flow putting them up and digging them each time would bug me. I'm a lazy sod :-) not given to suffering hassle.

    Your bench is looking good. Just a thought: With a bench where you can leave the stone holder in place you might think about using it with out using a vise and maybe going to a single stone base. I find a multi-stone holder restricts access more than a single stone holder. Like I said just a thought.


  3. Looking good Ken.

    I'm still debating with myself where I want to put my powered sharpening stuff, and the required increase in real estate to hold it all. Maybe the solution is to do like you, have them in the power tool room. In the mean time, that's why I came up with my sharpening board idea, so I can start using it while I wait for my future proper sharpening bench to firm up. Sure is nice to have a dedicated place to stop and sharpen as you go isn't it ?

    Bob, the sharpening bench procastinator

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  5. Bob,


    I've had the powered stuff next to my stones and found it was a waste of space. My bench is there for the day to day sharpening, for the quick step over to touch up an edge and go right back to work. I've found no down side to having the grinders in another location. I have found a big down side to either no sharpening station or one that is away from the bench.

    Find room and time to make one, you will wonder how you worked without once it is there and handy. I will seldom find a dull tool "racked" and I never have sharpening periods where I'm sharpening tool after tool. Makes for a much more enjoyable shop.